Thursday, 15 November, 2018

North Atlantic Treaty Organisation leaders interpret Trump's verbal lashing on spending

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Brussels that GETTY IMAGES German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters in Brussels that"there was a clear commitment to Nato by all
Steven Clarke | 12 July, 2018, 23:32

As a contentious North Atlantic Treaty Organization summit in Brussels began to wind down on Thursday, President Donald Trump claimed victory over defense spending and reaffirmed USA commitment to the alliance.

In an apparent swipe at Trump, he added: "Sometimes the corridors, comments and tweets take on more importance than what is negotiated, said or endorsed by heads of state".

But Mr Trump hinted he would not be happy with 2 per cent, saying 4 per cent would be a better level.

"The United States' commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation remains very strong", Trump told reporters at a surprise news conference following an emergency session of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members held to address his threats. "I believe in NATO", Trump told a press conference after a fraught NATO summit in Brussels.

In a series of tweets from the Belgian capital, Mr. Trump said, "Presidents have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get Germany and other rich NATO Nations to pay more toward their protection from Russian Federation".

That's because, despite the political rhetoric, Trump - like his other 28 allies - signed a summit communique that had been agreed to by their ambassadors last weekend, five days before the summit began.

"Is he my enemy?" Hopefully someday maybe he will be a friend.

"We didn't know what to expect, it was a positive outcome", he said of the dinner in a Brussels park, where leaders were treated to an acrobatic display and saxophone music. The US is paying for Europe's protection, then loses billions on Trade.

At present, the Liberal government's spending projections show Canada reaching only 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2024.

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Trump, who went to the United Kingdom after the gathering in the Belgian capital, is scheduled to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin next week. "We committed ourselves to spending a bit more".

Trump has long complained that European NATO members do not pay enough for their own defence, singling out Germany for particular criticism.

"(The) 2 per cent (figure) was a range, a goal, now it's a commitment, it was like this amorphous number out there and now it's a real commitment", he said. White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said this is not a formal proposal and that Trump had merely "suggested" this increase.

"I am very glad that we are united today in freedom as the Federal Republic of Germany and that we can therefore also make our own independent policies and make our own independent decisions".

Reinhard Krause / Reuters U.S. President Donald Trump he holds a news conference after participating in the NATO Summit in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018.

"The president is going to mention the fact that Europe is becoming more and more dependent on Russian Federation for their energy sources, specifically Germany with their invitation to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline", Barrasso told Fox News. "Not acceptable! All NATO Nations must meet their 2% commitment, and that must ultimately go to 4%!"

It was unclear anything concrete changed, although NATO's chief Jens Stoltenberg spoke of a "new sense of urgency".

"A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea", Trump tweeted alongside a copy of the letter dated July 6 - the day that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Pyongyang for what turned out to be hard talks with Kim's regime.

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